What is amenorrhea?
Amenorrhea is when you have no menstrual periods. There are two types of amenorrhea. Primary amenorrhea is when you never had a period and is 16 years or more of age. Secondary amenorrhea is when you had normal periods, but then stops for 3 or more consecutive months.
What is the cause of amenorrhea?
Primary amenorrhea may have the following causes:
- Problems in the hypothalamus, a brain area that interacts with the pituitary gland to regulate the menstrual cycle.
- Abnormal chromosomes.
- Diseases of the pituitary gland, which affects the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland sits just below the brain and helps regulate the menstrual cycle.
- An obstruction of the vagina, as a membrane that blocks the menstrual flow.
You can develop secondary amenorrhea due to:
- Use of oral or injectable contraceptives, like birth control pills or Depo-Provera.
- Certain types of medications such as antidepressants, chemotherapy drugs and antipsychotics.
- Extremely low body weight.
- A thyroid problem, which is another gland that produces hormones that have an effect on menstruation.
- Regular strenuous exercise such as running long distances, especially if you have low body fat.
How is amenorrhea treated?
Treatment depends on what is causing the amenorrhea. It can be as simple as changing your diet and exercise program to help maintain a healthy weight. You may need to take medication. Rarely, surgery is needed.